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OPPO A74 5G Review Philippines: Worth the Premium?

by Duey Guison  May 31, 2021

Review Verdict: Looking for a 5G phone that packs decent performance in the Philippines? Then the OPPO A74 5G might be for you. While it’s more expensive than its 4G-only sibling, its Snapdragon 480 processor delivers the goods and is able to match most Snapdragon 7-series processors used at the same price point. 

Pros

  • Snapdragon 480 is at par with most 4G Snapdragon 7-series SoCs
  • Consistent color balance between ultra-wide-angle and main camera
  • Smooth 90hz display that’s power-efficient

Cons

  • Crippled video features
  • Slower charging speeds vs the A74 4G

OPPO A74 5G Philippines Review Specs:

  • Snapdragon 480 processor
  • 6GB RAM
  • 128GB storage
  • 6.5-inch Full HD+ LCD display, 90hz refresh rate
  • 48-megapixel f/1.7 main camera with PDAF, 8-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle camera, 2-megapixel f/2.4 macro camera, 2-megapixel f/2.2 mono camera
  • 16-megapixel f/2.0 selfie camera
  • 4G, LTE, 5G
  • WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, side-mounted fingerprint scanner
  • 5000mAh battery
  • 18w fast charging
  • Android 11, ColorOS 11.1

OPPO is trying to make 5G accessible to everyone by bringing over the A74 5G to the Philippines. As the brand’s most affordable 5G device, the A74 5G makes a few compromises (compared to its 4G-only sibling) to make it a better-performing phone with beefier internals. Do the upgrades justify its premium over the 4G-only version?

Unboxing and packaging contents

Like its 4G-only sibling, you get the same packaging design with the A74 5G, where you have an outer sleeve with the photo of the phone and the usual branding and the actual box itself. Inside the box, you get the usual contents: the phone itself, silicone case, documentation, SIM ejector tool, 18w charger, USB-C cable, and a headset.

You read that right: the charger included is a slower 18w variety because the A74 5G’s charging speed caps off at that rate.

Design

From a design standpoint, the A74 5G looks dead identical to its 4G-only sibling. Everything from the camera module design, punch-hole location, to the port and button layout is the same as the 4G variant. Upon closer inspection, however, you’ll notice that the A74 5G is a smidge larger because of the display (now 6.5-inches vs 6.43-inches on the 4G-only model). The display is now an LCD variety instead of an AMOLED on the other device, so you get a side-mounted fingerprint scanner on the A74 5G.

For the rear camera module, the A74 5G gets a quad-rear camera setup and thankfully gets an ultra-wide-angle camera in the mix–something that has been notably missing on the 4G-only model. As a trade-off, the A74 5G does not have stereo speakers–which isn’t that bad of a compromise.

Display

Unlike the 4G-only model, the A74 5G settles for an LCD panel instead of AMOLED. However, you are getting a smoother 90hz refresh rate, which is a fair trade-off. While colors are not as vibrant and the blacks are not as deep as an AMOLED panel, the A74 5G’s LCD panel still has decent colors that make it a joy to use for watching videos and playing games. The smoother refresh rate also means that the overall UI is more fluid compared to your typical 60hz panel.

Camera

The A74 5G has virtually the same set of cameras as its 4G-only sibling, though it adds versatility with an additional ultra-wide-angle camera.

OPPO has been making a good effort in keeping color balance consistent with the main and ultra-wide-angle cameras, and the same can be seen on the A74 5G. Being your typical 8-megapixel snapper, the A74 5G’s ultra-wide-angle camera performs well in daylight, while performance does take a dip in low-light.

As for videos, the Snapdragon 480 limits video recording to Full HD at 30FPS, and we find it strange that the A74 5G cannot record video using the ultra-wide-angle camera.

We hope OPPO issues an update to enable video recording using the ultra-wide-angle camera in the future.

When it comes to selfies, the A74 5G does a good job in keeping our faces looking as natural as possible with minimal post-processing and retouching involved.

Internals and Battery Life

Powering the A74 5G is a Snapdragon 480 processor that is paired with 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. While it may seem that the A74 5G has a lower-end processor compared to the Snapdragon 662 used on the 4G-only version, benchmark results say otherwise. In fact, the Snapdragon 480 actually performed better than the Snapdragon 662, and is close to the Snapdragon 720G/732G in terms of overall performance.

How is a Snapdragon 4-series processor better than a Snapdragon 6-series processor then? This is because of the Adreno 619 GPU–it is the same GPU used on the Snapdragon 750G, and is technically better than the Adreno 618 GPU used on the Snapdragon 720G/732G. This is evident with GPU-related synthetic benchmarks, as the Snapdragon 480’s scores for Geekbench 5 compute and 3DMark Slingshot Extreme is much closer to a Snapdragon 732G.

That being said, the Snapdragon 480 is actually good for gaming. Comparing to GameBench benchmark numbers we got with the Snapdragon 720G-powered Galaxy A72, The A74 5G can match the former’s overall performance–with the difference being evident on FPS stability for Asphalt 9 and Genshin Impact. The difference in FPS stability is more notable with Genshin Impact, and it is understandable since the CPU cores of the Snapdragon 480 run at lower speeds compared to the Snapdragon 720G.

I myself was playing Genshin Impact using medium graphics settings, and the A74 5G managed to handle the game well–there are frame drops here and there, but nothing drastic enough to disrupt my gameplay. This shows that the Snapdragon 4-series have gone a long way, and it might even replace the Snapdragon 6-series in the near future (the Snapdragon 480 is also better than the Snapdragon 690 as the former supports both mmWave and sub-6Ghz, along with support for dual 5G SIM).

As for battery life, the A74 5G’s 5000mAh battery lasted us for around 17 hours on our video loop test with the display set at 90hz, which is efficient and can easily last over a day with moderate use. With the included 18w charger, it takes around 2 hours to top up the battery from flat to 100%.

Wrap up and Conclusions

While you get a crippled set of video features, slower charging speeds, and just an LCD display, our review of the OPPO A74 5G in the Philippines shows that it is a compelling 5G phone for under Php 15k. Don’t scoff at the Snapdragon 480 processor – it may sound inferior, but our tests show that it is indeed the most powerful processor under Qualcomm’s entry-level Snapdragon series.

In fact, we’re quite impressed at how the Snapdragon 480 can go up against popular Snapdragon 7-series processors like the Snapdragon 720G in both synthetic benchmarks and actual gaming. Add the smoother 90hz display and the additional ultra-wide-angle camera, and the A74 5G is definitely worth the premium over its 4G-only sibling.

OPPO A74 5G Review Philippines Price

The A74 5G is priced at Php 15,999 and is available via Lazada, Shopee and Smart’s online store if you opt for a postpaid plan.

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    Please try this for wide angle video:

    1. Wide-angle lens for video – this can be achieved on the A74 5G. The user just needs to go to [Camera] > tap Settings button in the top right corner > [Video resolution] > Set to 720P/30 fps. This will enable wide-angle video recording.

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